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Jan 14 2021
Jan 14

Serving on the Drupal Community Working Group has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career in open source. Since 2013, I’ve had both the honor and the privilege to work alongside some of the most thoughtful, patient, and devoted members of our community to help develop processes and structures for community governance, resolve conflicts, and help make the Drupal project and community a more friendly and welcoming place for everyone. That work has at times been challenging, but it has also provided many opportunities for learning and growth.

All good things must come to an end, however, and as announced at DrupalCon Europe last month, I’ve been working with the other members of the CWG over the last year on a plan to step down from my current position on the Conflict Resolution Team and make way for fresh talent and leadership. 

As our Code of Conduct states, “When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, in whole or in part, we ask that they do so in a way that minimizes disruption to the project. This means they should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.”

In my case, this means that while I will no longer be one of the people responsible for fielding incident reports or acting as a facilitator to help community members resolve conflicts, I will continue to be available to the current members of the team on an as-needed basis to help provide background and context for past issues. I will also continue to serve as a member of the CWG’s Community Health Team, working on projects to proactively improve community health, such as updating our Community Code of Conduct. I also plan to spend more time advocating within the broader open source community for improved community management structures and processes.

With this transition comes an opening within the Conflict Resolution Team, who is currently engaged in a search for new members, which is being led by Tara King (sparklingrobots). You can learn more about the kinds of folks we are looking for in our last call for members from 2018; additionally, all members are expected to abide by the CWG’s Code of Ethics.  

As per the CWG's charter, new members of the CWG’s Conflict Resolution Team are appointed to up to two 3-year terms by the group’s Review Panel, which consists of the two community-elected Drupal Association board members, plus an independent representative appointed by the board as a whole.

If you are interested in being considered, please reach out to Tara or email [email protected]. In addition to the openings on the Conflict Resolution Team, we are looking to fill several roles on our Community Health Team for people looking to help make a positive difference in our community.

In closing, I want to thank all of my past colleagues on the CWG: Donna, Angie, Roel, Adam, Mike, Emma, Rachel, Jordana, and Alex, as well as the countless community members who have helped us out in various ways over the years. Drupal is better because of you and your contributions.

Jun 06 2019
Jun 06

One of the chartered responsibilities of the Drupal Community Working Group (CWG) is to work to develop and support community initiatives that promote the health of the Drupal community and help to prevent conflict and burnout. One of the ways that we do this is by organizing workshops designed to provide community leaders with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to help keep our community a friendly and welcoming place.

Following feedback from last year’s Teamwork and Leadership workshop at DrupalCon Nashville, we decided to narrow the focus and audience for our next workshop. One of the things we’ve observed over the last year in the Drupal community is that many of the issues we’ve seen have had to do with communication breakdowns between various individuals and groups. Following internal discussion in late 2018, we decided that one way to begin addressing this issue was by bringing together leaders in the community representing different groups and interests for a workshop focused on communication skills at DrupalCon Seattle.

In early 2019, we interviewed a number of potential facilitators suggested by Drupal Association board chair Adam Goodman and selected Megan Bernard, a professor of communication studies who specializes in promoting meaningful and inclusive learning and collaboration. Based on Prof. Bernard’s recommendation, we decided to spread this year’s workshop out over two days (April 10-11) in a dedicated meeting room provided by the Drupal Association, who generously covered all fees and expenses.

After finalizing the logistics, we then reached out to those who had attended last year’s workshop, as well as additional community members involved with community governance, camp organizing, core and contrib maintainers, the Drupal Security Team, Drupal Diversity & Inclusion, and the Drupal Association. The workshop facilitator suggested that we keep the size of the workshop to around 20 people, focusing on individuals who are well-connected in the community in hopes that they can help distribute the lessons learned in the workshop. 17 people attended some or all of the first day of the workshop, and 18 attended some or all of the second. In total, community members from 10 different countries spread across 4 different continents were represented.

Day one of the workshop included introductions, a discussion of needs, assets, and challenges faced by various groups within the Drupal community, and a discussion of shared context and perspective. We talked about different ways that other online communities help communicate context about their users, such as identifying the primary language, pronouns, and location in comment threads. During our discussion, Neil Drumm pointed out there was already an active issue led by justafish and others to allow users to display this kind of information, and one of the first action items we agreed on was helping it get implemented on Drupal.org as quickly as possible.

Another topic of discussion centered around creating pre-written template responses that maintainers and/or other privileged users could use in issue threads to “nudge” users in the right direction and realign communication when conversations start trending away from our community standards. We discussed badges and other ways to promote positive communication in our issues threads and other community spaces. In addition, we also talked about better ways to on-board new members into the project and foster an ongoing sense of community. One insight was that small cohorts of 6-8 people are far more effective than 1:1 mentoring at building community engagement.

In our second day, we dug more deeply into the concepts of emotional intelligence, de-escalation practices, and different forms of conflict. One of our exercises was a case study challenge, where different groups were tasked with finding different ways to resolve typical kinds of conflicts often seen in Drupal and other open source communities.

We also spent time talking about different ways to apply some of the things we had learned to our own community, and next steps. We agreed as a group to focus on three main areas:

  1. Setting context in issue queues. This work had already been mostly completed in https://www.drupal.org/node/2961229 so it was really just a matter of working with DA staff to get it implemented on Drupal.org.

  2. Nudges. A group of us decided to do more research into pre-written templates to use in issue queues, forums, and Slack to gently steer things back in the right direction when conversations were starting to go in a negative direction.

  3. Improving Drupal.org user on-boarding and cohorts. In addition to better identifying new users on the site, we agreed to look into various ways to help community members join small cohorts, organized by industry, technology, geography, or other criteria. We felt it was important that this be an opportunity that’s open to existing community members as well as new ones.

The folks assigned to each area agreed to find a time to meet in the coming weeks and to involve other interested community members as well. The CWG also identified several opportunities to improve and streamline its internal processes and communication practices.

By developing and communicating best practices that can be shared across the community, the hope is that we can help build structures for self-guided conflict resolution among community members and support more effective communication overall.

Apr 25 2019
Apr 25

Earlier this month at DrupalCon Seattle, the Drupal Community Working Group (CWG) announced plans to begin the process of reviewing the Drupal Code of Conduct. The Drupal Code of Conduct, which is maintained and upheld by the CWG, governs interactions between community members. It is distinct from the DrupalCon Code of Conduct, which governs interactions at DrupalCon and other in-person events and is maintained and enforced by Drupal Association staff.

The current Drupal Code of Conduct was adopted in 2010 and last revised in 2014. Over the last two years, the CWG has received consistent feedback from the community that the Drupal Code of Conduct should be updated so that it is clearer and more actionable:

  • A set of recommendations for improving the Code of Conduct was shared as one of the high-level findings from the community discussions facilitated by Whitney Hess in April and May 2017.

  • 63% of respondents to a community governance survey held in July 2017 said that updating our codes of conduct should be prioritized as part of the process of overhauling community governance.

  • Improving the community code of conduct so that it is clearer and more actionable was also one of the key takeaways of the community governance discussions that occurred in the fall of 2017.

Over the last year, the CWG has been working on implementing changes to its charter to make the group more accountable to the community-at-large and provide a sustainable foundation for future growth. Now that those changes are complete, the CWG is now able to shift focus to the process of reviewing and improving the Drupal Code of Conduct.

To that end, we have set up a survey at https://forms.gle/rhKHorXXnp3wPQn2A for community members to share their thoughts, both about the current Code of Conduct and the next steps in the process. The results of this survey will help the CWG determine how, when, and who is involved in reviewing and updating the Code of Conduct.

We will be accepting responses through May 31, 2019, and we encourage as many community members to participate as possible.

Nov 21 2018
Nov 21

The Drupal Community Working Group is happy to announce the addition of Alex Burrows (aburrows). Based in Surrey, United Kingdom, Alex has been contributing to the Drupal project and community for more than a decade. He is one of the lead organizers of Drupalcamp London, and a frequent speaker at other Drupal events. Alex also serves as a volunteer police constable in his local community.

The CWG would also like to announce that both Josef Dabernig (dasjo) and Manjit Singh (Manjit.Singh) have agreed to serve as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to the CWG. SMEs are not full members of the group, but can be called upon on an as-needed basis for issues that might require specific knowledge or expertise. SMEs are subject to the same Code of Ethics as full members of the CWG.

Adam Hill and Emma Karayannis are also officially stepping down as members of the CWG. We would like to thank both Adam and Emma for their invaluable contributions to the group and for their ongoing contributions to the Drupal community.

The CWG continues to seek new members and SMEs as it seeks to increase the diversity of its membership. It is our hope that by expanding our membership, the CWG will be able to better serve the community in a more proactive manner. If you think you or someone you know might be a good fit for the CWG and are interested in learning more, please reach out to us via email at [email protected].

In other news, the CWG recently proposed a set of changes to its charter to address feedback and concerns raised by the community over the last year and a half. We are accepting feedback from the community through November 23 before finalizing the proposal.

The CWG is responsible for promoting and upholding the Drupal Code of Conduct and maintaining a friendly and welcoming community for the Drupal project. To learn more about the group and what we’ve been up to over the last year, check out our recently-published annual report.

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